I Survived the Coronavirus, 0520 RIBJ, RIBJ, 68 RI Bar J., Special COVID-19 Issue, Pg. 23

AuthorAmy Rice, Esq. Law Offices of Amy Rice Newport
PositionVol. 68 Special COVID-19 Issue Pg. 23

I Survived the Coronavirus

Vol. 68 Special COVID-19 Issue Pg. 23

Rhode Island Bar Journal

May, 2020

Amy Rice, Esq. Law Offices of Amy Rice Newport

The above title is the caption on a t-shirt given to me by my sister. Although I do not need any reminders, the caption sums up my recent, surreal, experience.

What is coronavirus? According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC): “On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China… abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease… “There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.”[1]

After I informed my family and some friends, I realized that despite HIPPA, news of my having contracted COVID-19 might get out into the public sphere. At that point, I felt obliged to inform people about its prevalence so that they could appreciate the dangers of this new disease. Accordingly, I posted the news on Facebook. This posting became an article, a subsequent follow-up article, and then I was interviewed about it on television.

In early March, before the severity of the outbreak had become apparent, I went to Park City, Utah, on a snowboarding trip. Although there had been several reports about the virus in the news, and although I admittedly did contemplate cancelling my trip, there were no restrictions on travel at the time and I thought that a trip to the fresh mountain air would be good for my health. Nevertheless, before I left for Utah, I read the Center for Disease Control (CDC) preventative guidelines. Already being a bit of a germaphobe, keeping antibacterial lotion in my pocket, practicing social distancing, and routinely washing my hands with warm water and soap seemed like very reasonable precautions to take to prevent my contracting the virus. However, these precautions proved futile.

While in Utah, I contracted COVID-19 at a restaurant where, unbeknownst to me at the time, an employee previously had tested positive for the virus. This occurred before most states, including Utah, had issued stay-at-home orders. Two days after eating at the restaurant, my friends and I happened to see a report on the news about how the restaurant had closed immediately after discovering that one of its employees had tested positive for the virus. The following day, I awoke with chills and a pain in my chest. I immediately went to a walk-in clinic to have my temperature checked. Because I had been “exposed” to the virus, the clinic automatically administered a COVID-19 test.

According to the CDC: “For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure because the incubation period for this virus is 2 to 14 days. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they have not developed illness during the incubation period.”[2]

For me, it took three days to develop symptoms after my initial exposure. A major problem with this virus is that many who contract the disease are asymptomatic for many days while unknowingly spreading it to others during that period of time.

On the day that I was tested, practically everything in town was closed down due to the reports about the restaurant. I took it easy that day and went for a long walk on the following day...

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